A statue of Hindu goddess Saraswati, about a mile away from White House in Washington DC (USA), was unveiled by Indonesian President Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on September 25.
This 4.9 meters high statue raised by Embassy of Indonesia on public space on Massachusetts Avenue NW is said to be even taller than Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, which is also on Massachusetts Avenue, about less than one fifth of a mile.
“President hopes, the presence of the statue would open our hearts and minds”, according to a release posted on Indonesia Cabinet Secretariat. “Could end hatred and misunderstanding between us…”, it quoted Yudhoyono stating during the speech at the unveiling.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended Yudhoyono for installation of Saraswati statue; thus displaying religious pluralism, honoring diversity and respecting minorities. Zed also thanked Dupont Circle ANC for the unanimous Saraswati statue approval.
Capitals of other countries around the world should also install statues of Hindu gods and goddesses in public places, thus proving their credentials of multiculturalism and pluralism, Rajan Zed stressed.
This statue, designed by I Nyoman Sudarwa and occupying an area of 30 square meters, carries an inscription on its front: “Let the Indestructible Force of Love and Knowledge Seize the Hearts and Minds of All God’s Children and Forever Shall Be Peace on Earth”. Mayor of Badung (Bali) Anak Agung Gde Agung and all the sculptors of Saraswati statue were reportedly flown in for purification ritual.
Indonesia has the largest Muslim population than any other country in the world; where Muslims form about 88% of the population and Hindus about 3%.
In Hinduism, Saraswati is revered as goddess of knowledge/learning, music, art, language/speech, and poetry. Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.